More than 300 OBI members, legislators and civic leaders joined OBI on Oct. 7 for our flagship annual gathering, the Statesman Event. In a normal year, we would have gathered for dinner and drinks to salute our Statesman of the Year honorees – but 2020 has not been a normal year. The entire event was virtual, which came with unique challenges and unexpected silver linings. We’d like to thank all of our attendees and sponsors for an amazing event.

Saluting our 2020 Statesman of the Year Honorees: Congressman Greg Walden and Rep. Caddy McKeown

Congressman Greg Walden from Oregon’s 2nd District and state Representative Caddy McKeown of Coos Bay were honored as our 2020 Statesman of the Year honorees.

“In keeping with our OBI tradition, we are recognizing two individuals who, in decades of service to our state, have exemplified the character of an Oregon statesman,” said OBI Board Chair Karen Vineyard as she introduced the honorees. “A person who, time and again, has shown true leadership, taking on the tough issues, rising above partisanship, putting their personal convictions ahead of their parties, their business interests and sometime even their longtime friends, in an effort to make Oregon a better place for people who live here.”


Former U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith Joins 2020 Honorees for a Panel Discussion

The Statesman Event also featured a panel discussion led by 2018 Statesman honoree Kerry Tymchuk, executive director of the Oregon Historical Society. The 2020 honorees were joined by former U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Oregon), who now leads the National Association of Broadcasters in Washington, D.C. and was the first-ever Statesman honoree. The three public servants spoke at length about about the many crises our communities have faced this year, including COVID-19, the ensuing economic recession, social unrest and unprecedented wildfires.

Reflecting on 2020 

The event also included a video of Mark Ganz, the retiring CEO of Cambia Health Solutions, reflecting on the resiliency and generosity of Oregon’s business community in the face of COVID-19 and the recent wildfires. From manufacturing personal protective equipment to hosting fundraisers for first responders, our business community weathered crisis after crisis with strength and innovation.

What Does a 21st Century Statesman Look Like?

We asked more than a dozen emerging leaders from across the state: What does a 21st century statesman look like? What qualities does this era demand of our leaders? While each speaker has something unique to say, common themes included bipartisanship, authenticity and inclusivity. See what the next generation of statesmen and stateswomen had to say.